Choi Myung-jin, CEO of Hancom InSpace, is a former researcher at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). Credit: Hancom InSpace

TAMPA, Fla. — South Korea’s Hancom InSpace has ordered two more remote sensing satellites from Spire Global as the status of a cubesat ordered two years ago remains up in the air.

Spire said March 27 it will build and operate Sejong-2 and Sejong-3 on behalf of Hancom InSpace to join Sejong-1, a six-unit (6U) cubesat that Vienna, Virginia-headquartered Spire deployed in May 2022 under a payload-hosting agreement with the South Korean firm.

Three months after SpaceX launched Sejong-1 (also known as Hancom-1), Spire said it would provide another 6U imaging cubesat called Hancom-2 for a launch in the second half of 2023.

However, that launch never happened and Spire said its teams are currently discussing plans for Hancom-2 internally, without giving details.

“Our teams are internally discussing and planning the Hancom missions, and we will share more updates as we have them,” Frank Frulio, general manager of space services at Spire, told SpaceNews.

“Our focus is on our current collaboration with Hancom, where we are building and operating Sejong-2 and Sejong-3 satellites to complement Sejong-1 for a three-satellite remote sensing image data service.”

Spire spokesperson Sarah Freeman declined to comment on the size of the Sejong-2 and Sejong-3 satellites but said they would be the same as each other.

Most of the more than 100 cubesats Spire operates — mainly supporting its own maritime, aviation, and weather data and analysis services — are 3U in size, although the company has been branching out into bigger cubesats, such as the 16U platform unveiled in 2022. A standard cubesat measures 10 centimeters a side.

Freeman said Sejong-2 would have an optical imager and serve as an extension of Sejong-1, focusing on maritime and agricultural monitoring, especially in urban areas.

Sejong-3 would be equipped with a hyperspectral imager for applications such as calculating wildfire damage area, analyzing air pollution levels, and assessing river water quality.

Spire declined to say when Sejong-2 and Sejong-3 could launch.

Hancom InSpace, a spin-off from South Korea’s space agency specializing in image analysis for tracking vehicles and changes in infrastructure and the environment, has plans for up to 50 satellites.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...